Posts Tagged Gramado

Torres

Posted on December 20, 2012 by 2 Comments

After waiting out several rainstorms, we decided to make a break for it when the clouds cleared. Our trip out of Gramado took us though the smaller (quainter) Alpine town of Canela with it’s inexplicably over-sized church.

From there, we wanted to take a track on the dirt into the canyons of the Parque Nacional Da Serra. It started with nice green rolling hills, but later there was a minor problem: it was completely fogged in. We think we saw the sign for the park entrance, but didn’t quite realize it until we had passed it. The cloud-forest vegetation was a nice change, though.

Our descent down the eastern side was steep and winding, but without much of view. They aren’t always clear sunny days. Then, we arrived at the coast and found the sun.

We picked Torres because we knew of 4 camp sites and the guidebook suggested it was worth visiting. The beach is something other than endless flat sand, so I suppose that’s something. The 500 km south of here are just that. A few rocks is about all this town has to offer that’s any different.

The camping place on the beach only allowed tents and the 2 others were closed. We settled for the one at the town entrance – literally in view of the VW dealership.
It didn’t take long before Bode had a girlfriend.  I don’t know why, but I kinda feel like this needs to be noted for future reference: Bode’s First Brazilian Girlfriend – age 7.

They were hand in hand before we knew it and Milli dragged him around all night and the next day.

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Bavarian Brazil

Posted on December 19, 2012 by 6 Comments

We enjoyed our time in Gramado, made some new friends, caught up with some folks we met in Punte del Este, got some bus projects done*, played soccer with Yuri the wonder dog, marveled at bunny island, did not dine at a fancy restaurant, soaked up some Alpine village Christmas ambiance, ate a huge sushi feast with Beti and Marcel, and even learned some more Portuguese.

The money situation is stabilized, but still a work in progress to get our mystery charges refunded. For now, we’ve decided to only use international banks… which there are a few in Gramado. This plan may not work in small towns, but should keep us moving along for now. So far, so good.

*filling a leaky steering box with high-viscosity oil is not the same as fixing it. But, it was the best we could do. Many calls were made for us (some in German), shops were visited, and it was determined the part simply does not exist in Brazil. Oddly, people were asking us where we had been getting parts for a German kombi.  After further review, it appears the part may not exist anywhere. If you can locate the circular steering gearbox seal (on the side that connects to the drag link arm) for a 71 VW bus, then that’s what we want for Christmas.

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Inland to Gramado

Posted on December 15, 2012 by 4 Comments

We found a weird little campsite near the lake and barely pulled in under the low trees. Giant bromeliad and orchids grow right out of the moss. We woke up with screaming cicada’s on the bus. We packed up and were on the road by 9. It was a nice lake, though.

Up the road, around the second Lagoa Dos Barres, and we hit a Brazilian interstate for the first time. The BR-290. All for about 20 kms – with two toll booths.  Then, we turned up into the mountains and headed up to 1000 m on the way to Gramado. This is apparently one of the few places where it snows in Brazil. It’s a possibility, anyway. Not in December, though. It’s almost 40°C (100°F).  And, this is also the only place I’ve ever seen where hydrangeas grow like weeds.

There is a nice campground just outside of town, so we pulled in to find that we would be the only people here that haven’t built a house around our vehicle.  This place seems to double as weekend homes for folks from Porto Alegre.  Bode made fast friends and took off for the day – Portuguese phrasebook in hand.

We think met just about everybody here. We seemed to be a bit of a curiosity. People were not shy about walking up and staring at Red Beard or us for uncomfortably long periods without speaking.  Many people speak German, but not much English. We threw out a few “oi‘s!” and engaged a few folks to talk a bit. It’s the only way we’re going to learn. We’re finding that listening/speaking the language is way harder than reading it. And, way harder than Spanish. Bode is already ahead of us.

We met Marcel, who fortunately for us, loves VW’s and speaks English. He’s got the sweet VW Karmann Safari bus. There is another one here too, and it didn’t take long to meet that guy either.  Anyway, Marcel is planning a big trip and is waiting until his bus is absolutely perfectly restored. He’s pretty close.  The thing is incredible. Two big beds. A bathroom! Two showers! A real kitchen! And, it’s just a VW bus with a stock 1600 engine.  Apparently, these Karmann conversions were only made in Brazil, Germany, and Africa.

I think I want one.

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Filed Under: Brazil